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From Middle English halyday, holyday, halidei, haliȝdei, from Old English hāliġdæġ (holy day, Sabbath), equivalent to holy +‎ day, from Proto-Germanic *hailagadagaz. Cognate with West Frisian hjeldei (holiday), Danish helligdag (holiday), Norwegian helligdag (holiday), Swedish helgdag (holiday, feast).



holiday (plural holidays)

  1. A day on which a festival, religious event, or national celebration is traditionally observed.
    Today is a Wiccan holiday!
  2. A day declared free from work by the state or government.
  3. (chiefly Britain) A period of one or more days taken off work for leisure and often travel; often plural (US English: vacation).
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or [] . And at last I began to realize in my harassed soul that all elusion was futile, and to take such holidays as I could get, when he was off with a girl, in a spirit of thankfulness.
  4. (chiefly Britain) (US English: vacation) A period during which pupils do not attend their school; often plural; rarely used for students at university (usually: vacation).
    I want to take a French course this summer holiday.
  5. A gap in coverage, e.g. of paint on a surface, or sonar imagery.[1]


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


holiday (third-person singular simple present holidays, present participle holidaying, simple past and past participle holidayed) (chiefly Britain)

  1. To take a period of time away from work or study.
  2. (Britain) To spend a period of time for travel.



  1. ^ Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: June 26, 2007).


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of halyday